The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has expressed its commitment to continue to partner with government at all levels and all stakeholders to address the high prevalence of violence against children in Nigeria.
The Officer in Charge of UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office, Mr. Idrissa Yeo, stated this in Bauchi, during a workshop on ethical reporting training and media dialogue organised by the Bauchi State Television (BATV), in collaboration with UNICEF.
Yeo stated that UNICEF would continue to work hard with the Nigerian government at the state and federal levels, parents and care-givers, community and civil society, the international community, among other actors involved, in protecting children.
He said that UNICEF is starting a new programme from 2018 to 2022, which will centre on child survival, starting with health, nutrition, WASH, and Child protection.
Yeo, therefore, appealed for the continued support of all stakeholders, particularly the media, saying the media will be the backbone of the success of the new UNICEF programme
UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Bauchi Field Office, Ladi Alabi, disclosed that recent studies had shown that there was a high prevalence of violence against children in Nigeria.
Citing VACS 2014 report, Alabi observed that before the age of 18 years, approximately six out of every 10 children in the country experience some form of violence
She disclosed that one in two children experience physical violence (punching, hitting with a fist, kicking, whipping, beating with an object, choking, smothering, trying to drown, burning intentionally).
“One in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence. One in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence,” she said, while the majority of children who experience physical, sexual or emotional violence in childhood do so on multiple occasions, with 80 per cent -physical violence, 70 per cent -sexual violence and 80 per cent-emotional violence respectively.
Sadly, she noted, perpetrators of physical violence against children are overwhelmingly people whom children know, even as they are not speaking out, seeking or receiving services.
Alabi said that the implication of violence against the child include decrease in brain function, Learning impairment and low school performance, poor performance at work, high risk behaviour, drug and alcohol addiction, early pregnancy and low capacity as parents and incapacity to maintain relations, cycle of poverty and cycle of violence among others.
She opined that in order to develop an effective protective environment for the child, there must be a connection between the various factors, actions and activities.
Alabi said: “There must be coordination between the actors involved, to develop a system where roles and mandates are clear, and a system able to provide comprehensive services to address the needs of children; through a comprehensive approach.”